Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

perhaps be wicked, and yet may live without knowing any thing of friendship. I say virtuous—for the vicious have only accomplices; the voluptuaries, only companions in debauchery; the interested have associates; the politician, his faction; the bulk of the people, their connexions ; princes, their courtiers; the virtuous alone have friends."

The following instances of friendship, serves to show how far it can be carried when put to the test.

At the battle of Philippi, when Brutus, after the defeat of his ariny, was in danger of falling into the hands of his enemies, his bosom friend Lucilius gave him an opportunity to escape : calling out, “ I am Brutus, lead me to Antony." Being accordingly conducted to Antony, he spoke with great resolution : “I have employed this artifice,” said he, “ that Brutus might not fall alive into the hands of his enemies. The gods will never permit that fortune shall triumph so far over virtue. In spite of fortune, Brutus will always be found, living or dead, in a situation worthy of his courage.” Antony, admiring the firmness of Lucilius, said to him, “ You merit a greater reward than it is in my power to bestow. I have just been informed of the death of Brutus; and as your fidelity to him is now at an end, I beg earnestly to be received in his place; love me as you loved him; I wish no more.” Lucilius engaged himself to Antony; and naintaining the same attachment to him that he had shown to Brutus, adhered to him when he was abandoned by all the world.

During the second bombardment of Algiers, the Moors, in despair, fastened their Christian slaves to the mouths of their cannon, and in this way their mangled bodies were fired against the hostile ships. An Algerine captain, who had been, some years before, taken prisoner by the beseigers, observed among the number an officer who had at that time shown him the kindest treatment, and with whom he had contracted an ardent friendship. He perceived him at the moment when they were about to fasten the unfortunate man to the cannon. The Algerine cried out, and made the most violent struggles to save the life of the victim. But finding his intreaties vain, and that they were on the point of firing the gun, he threw himself across the body of his devoted friend, clasped his arms firmly round him, and called aloud:"Fire ! since I cannot save the life of my friend, I will at least enjoy the consolation of dying with him.” The dey, who happened to be an eye-witness of this scene, was so moved at the sight, that he instantly conceded to heroism, what he had denied to humanity.

The marshall d'Armont having taken Crodon, in Bretagne, during the league, gave orders to put every Spaniard to the sword who was found in that garrison. Though death was declared the punishment for disobeying the orders of the general, an English soldier ventured to save a Spaniard. The Englishman was arraigned for his offence, before a court-martial; where he confessed the fact, and declared himself ready to suffer death, provided they would spare the life of the Spaniard. The marshall, being surprised at such conduct, asked the soldier, how he came to be so much interested in the preservation of his enemy. “ Because," replied he, “ in a similar situation he once saved my life.”—The marshall, greatly pleased with the goodness of the soldier's heart, granted pardon to them both, and highly extolled them,

At the siege of Brignorth castle, in the reign of Henry II. which was defended by Roger de Mortimer, the king exposed himself to so much danger, that he would have been slain, if a faithful vassal had not preserved his sovereign's life to his own. For while he was personally giving orders at a station too near the wall, Hubert de St. Clare, governor of Colchester castle, who'stood by his side, seeing an arrow aimed at Henry by one of Mortimore's archers, stepped before him, and received it in his own breast. The wound was mortal; he expired in the arms of his master, recommending his daughter (an only child, and an infant) to the care of that prince. It is hard to say, which most deserves admiration; a subject who died to save his king, or a king whose personal virtues could render his safety so dear to a subject whom he had not obliged by any extraordinary favours. The daughter of Hubert was educated by Henry, with all the affection that he owed to the memory of her father; and, when she had attained to maturity, was honourably married to William de Longueville, a nobleman of great distinction, on condition of his taking the name of St. Clare, which the grateful Henry was desirous to perpetuate.

At the battle of Roucoux, in 1746, a sergeant of the Regiment of Flanders, named Vidal, giving his arm to the prince of Monaco, who was wounded, in order to lead him to a place of safety, had that very arm broken to pieces by a musket ball. Without betraying the least emotion, this dauntless hero only changed his arm, saying, "Take this, my prince; the other is now good for nothing."

PLEASURE OF PAYING DEBTS. What pleasure it is to pay one's debts ! Sir T. Littleton made this observation. It seems to flow from a combination of circumstances, each of which is productive of pleasure. In the first place, it removes that uneasiness which a true spirit feels from dependence and obligation : It affords pleasure to the creditor, and thereby gratifies our most social affection : It promotes that future confidence which is so very interesting to an honest mind : It opens a prospect of being readily supplied with what we want on future occasions : It leaves a consciousness of our own virtue : And it is a measure which we know to be right, both in point of justice and sound policy : Finally, it is the main support of reputation.

CONJUGAL LOVE. A FRIEND of the same age, in whose presence you are to live and to die ; a friend whose every interest is your own ; all whose prospects are partaken by yourself, including that of the grave; here is a feeling which constitutes all our fate. Sometimes, it is true, our children, and more often our parents, become our companions through life ; but this rare and sublime enjoyment is combated by the laws of nature ; while the marriage union is in accord with the whole of human existence.

There is an excess of wretchedness in an unhappy marriage, which transcends every other misery in the world. The whole soul of a wife reposes upon the attachment of her husband ;-to struggle alone, against fortune ; to advance towards the grave without the friend who should regret us; this is an insolated state, of which the Arabian desert gives but a faint idea ; and, when all the treasure of your youthful years has been resigned in vain ; when you hope no longer at the end of life the reflection of those early rays; when the twilight has nothing more that can recal the dawn, but is pale and discoloured as the phantom that foreruns the night; then your heart revolts; and if you still love the being who treats you as a slave, since he does not belong to you, and yet disposes of you, despair seizes all your faculties, and conscience herself grows troubled at the intensity of your distress.

Purity of mind and conduct is the first glory of a woman. What a degraded being would she be, deprived of both these qualities! But general happiness, and the dignity of the human species, would perhaps nnt gain less by the fidelity of man in marriage. In a word, what is there more beautiful in moral order, than a young man who respects this sacred tie ? Opinion does not require it of him, society leaves him free; a sort of savage pleasantry would endeavour to ridicule even the complaints of the heart, which he had broken ; for censure is easily turned upon the sufferer. He then is the master, but he imposes duties on himself; no disagreeable result can arise to him from his faults ; but he dreads the evil he may do to her who has intrusted herself to his heart ; and generosity attaches him so much the more, because society dissolves his attachment.

God, in creating man the first, has made him the noblest of his creatures ; and the most noble creature is that one which has the greater number of duties to perform. It is a singular abuse of the prerogative of a superior nature, to make it serve as an instrument, to free itself from the most sacred ties, whereas true superiority consists in the power of the soul; and the power of this soul is virtue.

AMUSEMENT,

A LITTLE TOO LATE."
Father Paul,
I

AM an unfortunate man, and stand in need of good advice; but I am not without fears that it would now come too late to produce any good effect. However, hear my story, and if you think my disorder not incurable, pray prescribe for me.

My father was an eminent grazier in Leicestershire, England, possessed of a fortune of 15,0001. sterling. My brother and myself were both born on the same day. ;-but as ill luck would have it, he was born about an hour before me, and therefore, as the oldest son, was heir to my father's property. In short, in the very outset in life, I found myself a little too late.

Without troubling you with the various mishaps of childhood, I pass to the time that I was one-and-twenty, and engaged my passage up to London in the stage coach, having fifteen guineas in my pocket, and a draft on a respectable house for one hundred and fifty; and this constituted all my fortune.—The morning came on which the stage was to start; the hour was fixed at half past four; but unluckily I slept till five, and on hurrying to the stage-house, found it had gone without me, for I was a little too late. Determined however, to pursue my journey, I got my trunk into a waggon, jogged on as well as I could, and at length arrived at the metropolis two days after the mail, when wo was me! On presenting my draft I found that the house had failed the day before, and I had come to my sorrow too late..

From this moment I formed a resolution never to oversleep myself, or to let the fixed hour go by, without attention. I then took passage in the steerage, (as best suited to my circumstances) on board of a ship bound to Philadelphia, and although she was not to sail under a week, put my trunk on board, resolving to be ready for the voyage ; but the day which was fixed for her departure, I went on shore to lay in a stock of crackers and tobacco, which I had forgotten, intending to stay only an hour; when my notice was attracted by a fellow who stood upon a hogshead, swallowing knives, fish-hooks, snuff-boxes, and whatever trifles the gaping crowd would trust him with, till the hour had twice passed away, and on hurrying away to the shore, behold the ship had sailed, with trunk, clothes, and all my money on board. Indeed, I was rather too late.

By great exertions, however, I hired a boat for four times its worth, to assist me to overtake the ship, and al length, to my great joy, got on board and arrived safe in this country,which was, I fond. ly hoped, to break the charm and put a final end to my misfortanes.

Being acquainted with farming, and particularly with fattening cattle, I hired myself out to a farmer in Lancaster county, and as I am a rosy cheeked good looking fellow, I soon made my way to the affections of a charming Dutc: girl, worth ten thousand dollars, sensible and intelligent, though a little hasty. She had been courted by an irish lad, but I had won the consent of the lass in spite of him, and the very day was fixed for our wedding. I could not do less, you know, than to invite John to the marriage, partly, I own to triumph. Then I thought my happiness complete. But in the hurry of dressing myself, for I was thinking, as folks will on such occasions, of a thousand odd things, I found, just as I was about to start, that I had forgotten to change my linen;-a most unfortunate affair !—but I hurried as fast as possible (for I have been in a hurry all my life,) got myself rigged again and hastened to the appointed place, when-as luck would have it, -the bride had been laughed into the notion that I did not intend to come, and in a moment of wounded pride, half to morti. fy me, and resolved that the wedding guests should not be disap. pointed-she had stood up with John, and the priest bad that moment said--amen. Alas the day, I was again a little too late.

Laughed at---disappointed-mortified-I left Lancaster, and 1:ave come to push my fortune in this great city.--Now Father Paul, I pray you to tell me what I can do to get rid of this evil genius, which has followed me across the Atlantic, and has so long haunted me? Are there, think you, any in this city who have symptoms of the disease ? Yours,

JAMES TARDY.

THE CORK LEG.

FACETIOUS

A

attorney, who wore a cork leg, made an admirable imitation of the real one, and who was esteemcd an excellent trotter, having a dispute with a stranger about courage, and the different effects pain produced upon individuals, proposed to elucidate this, by trying, against his antagonist, which could bear to hold his leg longest in hot water; he who gave in first, to pay glasses round the campany. The stranger pot-valiant, accepted the challenge ; pails were brought in smoking hot, the lawyer immersed his leg with much seeming pain ; the other did the same, and with many awkward gestures boldly preserved for about half a minute, keeping his eye fixed on his opponent, who grinded and distorted his features as if really agonized. At length,

« PoprzedniaDalej »